The Boundary Layer and Subsonic Tunnel (BLAST) a Ground-Breaking Tunnel for Future Design Projects (Credit: University of Texas at Dallas, Meteorologist Jessica Olsen)
DISCUSSION: The Boundary Layer and Subsonic Tunnel (BLAST) is a revolutionary
wind tunnel that was unveiled in 2018 at the University of Texas at Dallas. It is expected that this wind tunnel will provide a host of opportunities for students, in various programs.
According to Dr. Mario A. Rotea, head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, “BLAST will be integrated into our curriculum. It will be a key asset for senior design projects that require testing the forces that the wind exerts on objects.” The University of Texas at Dallas indicates BLAST offers a 26,000-pound fan which provide simulations of airflow around various objects and of similar atmospheric conditions, in addition, two test sections in which speeds can reach an estimated 115 mph, that similar to a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir Simpson scale. Applications of the BLAST wind tunnel include research regarding drag reduction on vehicles, lift production in airfoils, effects of wind on construction materials, and even used for turbine production.
Wind tunnels provide a range of capabilities, making it an ideal experimental piece for industries ranging from aviation, atmospheric science, agriculture, automotive and even the Olympics. These industries could ultimately benefit from such research by continuing to investigate the wind dynamics in various instances.
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© Meteorologist Jessica Olsen